Back to the Bush
The outback boomerangers go against many of the current Australian trends. Australians are among the most residentially mobile populations in the world, but we generally migrate out of the bush, not into it.
Statistics aren’t completely clear, and those that exist are based on the last census in 2011, in the thick of the mining boom. But the stats show a couple of things. From 2006–2011, a third of Australia’s regional development areas had a net population migration loss, and 72% of those were in rural areas. Rural areas that were growing were generally those being invaded by ‘tree-changing’ or ‘sea-changing’ retirees, often in the hinterland of capital cities. In the decade of the mining boom, the population in mining areas also increased. But in the heart and soul of regional Australia populations were generally decreasing. Young people, in particular, leave rural areas in droves.
The statistic that isn’t widely reported, however, is that people in their thirties and forties often return to the bush. According to research by the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), 200,000 people moved out of capital cities and into a regional area between 2014 and 2015. In fact, more Australians aged 25–44 are moving out of cities to regional areas than vice versa. Many of these are returners.